The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State deepened on Thursday over the composition of the zoning, planning and strategic committee for the October 16, 2021 state congress of the party in the state.

The indication emerged as the state caretaker committee, under the chairmanship of Chief Akin Oke, and the Elders’ Advisory Council of the party in the state, under the chairmanship of a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, as well as Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare,who hails from Ogbomoso in the state, as well as a group within the party, are not on the same page on the membership of the committee.

The names of the committee members were announced by Alao-Akala on behalf of the advisory council earlier in the week. But the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, kicked against the composition, saying the arrangement was biased.

Also, a group within the party, known as the Core Progressives, has called for the disbandment of the Elders’ Advisory Council, describing the committee as an illegality, which must be disbanded immediately for the party to consolidate on the gains recorded so far in its reconciliation and reengineering process.

The group in a statement in Ibadan on Thursday declared that the advisory committee without any locus standi or any authority whatsoever to constitute any committee for the party was already usurping the powers of the caretaker committee of the party, a development, it said, was inimical to the growth of APC in the state.

Chairman of the group, Alhaji Musibau Ahmed, said the Alao-Akala committee had outlived its usefulness and as such should be disbanded forthwith by the Caretaker /Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party for APC to have real progress in Oyo State.

The group stated that it has now been vindicated over its earlier rejection of the committee based on the lopsidedness in its composition, which purportedly gave edge to old members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with known records of hijack and disruption of peaceful process, maintaining that the obviously biased zoning committee released by the committee has cleared all doubts over the intent of the Akala’s advisory committee to hijack the party for PDP.

The group, however, commended the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, for coming out boldly to reject the committee, stating that with the rejection, Dare has further proved that he is a committed party man and a patriotic Nigerian, who would always ensure that the right things are done in consonance with the constitution.

The group also urged the minister as the representative of the National Leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari in Oyo State, to work closely with the caretaker chairman for the state, Chief Akin Oke, and come up with the right strategy that would be acceptable to the majority of the members and put the party on strong footings in the state.

The development has, however, forced the state caretaker committee to summon a meeting of stakeholders on the grounds that an all-encompasing committee would be set up ahead of the state congresss.

Members of the nine-man committee as announced by Alao-Akala include a member of House of Representatives, Prince Musiliu Akinremi, who doubles as a member of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of APC at the national level. The eight other members of the committee also include a member of the advisory council, Idris Adeoye, expected to serve as secretary of the committee. Chairman, National Lottery Commission and former Personal Assistant to former governor Lamidi Adesina, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle.

The list also comprised a former secretary to Oyo State Government during the administration of former governor Abiola Ajimobi, Alhaji Lekan Alli; Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education, Dr. Isiaka Kolawole; former executive chairman of Ogbomoso South Local Government, Wale Adeleke; Akeem Olatunji; Hammed Ayinla and Mrs. Monisola Tegbe.

Chief Oke on Thursday announced that the state caretaker committee would a hold a critical stakeholders’ meeting on Monday to conclude on its planned zoning arrangement for the next set of state executive committee members.

He also advocated calm and decorum among gladiators and other stakeholders, including party faithful and supporters as “no stone would be left unturned to ensure that all tendencies, zones and 33 local government areas are carried along in the formation of the new State Executive Committee, through a consensus arrangement that is devoid of partiality and sentiments.

“While we plead for the understanding of all gladiators and stakeholders within the party, we assure that all is well with the progressive family in the state as few noises in the social media are expected at a time like this.

“However, we would like to warn all overzealous elements to caution themselves against actions capable of raising fear and suspicion as we maintain our resolve to prioritise only activities that would be in the overall interest of the party only.

“The critical stakeholders meeting slated for next week Monday becomes imperative in view of the forthcoming state congress as it is our desire to hold a hitch-free exercise just like we did during the previous ward and local government congresses across the state. In view of this, we shall reach out to all leaders and stalwarts of our party from this Friday as only individuals duly invited would be allowed to be part of the meeting.

“We want party faithful and members of the public to disregard rumours of internal crisis in Oyo APC. The rumoured crisis is a figment of the imagination of some fifth columnists, who do not mean well the Nigerian society. Party congresses are strictly for political parties to strengthen their structures and fulfil certain constitutional obligations. And as a progressive party, we will always work in the best interest of our members and the general public as we are poised to return to Agodi Government House in 2023.”

SUN